What Is the Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue located at the bottom of the foot that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. The purpose of the plantar fascia is to support the arch of the foot and absorb shock as the foot hits the ground. Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed when this tissue becomes irritated and inflamed.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis usually begin with heel pain with the first few steps in the morning. The pain may be a stabbing sensation in the heel. Other symptoms may include pain at the beginning of an activity that lessens as patients continue the activity or pain in the heel that worsens by the end of the day.
The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is often made by physical examination; however, X-rays or MRIs may be used to rule out other sources of foot pain or for patients who are not responding appropriately to treatment.
Causes of plantar fasciitis include overuse and unknown etiology. Repetitive stress to the tissue causes micro tears to the plantar fascia that the body is not able to repair quickly enough. The risk factors for plantar fasciitis include being between 40 and 60 years of age, obesity, certain types of exercises, jobs requiring hours of standing and improper foot mechanics.
Treatment of plantar fasciitis is most often conservative. If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis, first try to rest from activities that may be aggravating the symptoms, ice the affected area for 15 minutes three to four times per day, stretch your arch, and check your shoes for wear or improper fit. If that does not help, schedule an appointment with your physician for an evaluation and diagnostic testing.
Your physician may recommend additional conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis, such as change in shoe wear, orthotics, night splints, anti-inflammatories, or referral to a physical therapist for further evaluation. A physical therapist will identify improper foot mechanics, such as deficits in range of motion, strength, flexibility, balance and joint mobility. Once these impairments are identified a personalized set of exercises, stretches, massage, taping and modalities will be recommended to address the issues.
If conservative treatment fails, steroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, ultrasonic tissue repair, or surgery is an option.
If you are experiencing foot pain, request an appointment with one of our foot specialists. Our physicians will evaluate the cause of the foot pain and recommend a treatment plan that works for you.Leave a reply →